Chinese smartphone maker, Realme’s India CEO is proud of the company’s Indian roots. Madhav Seth, CEO of Chinese BBK Electronics-owned company, said as much in a YouTube series the company runs yesterday. “I can proudly say that Realme is an Indian startup, which is now a global multinational company," said Seth in the video. BBK Electronics also owns smartphone brands Oppo, Vivo and OnePlus.
Companies like Realme have been taking to social media in order to establish their Indianness amid growing anti-China sentiments amongst Indian consumers. On June 3, Poco, which is an offshoot of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, put out a tweet on similar lines. “With a dream of serving Indian consumers, @IndiaPoco was born 2 years ago in Delhi, India," the company said in the tweet.
Poco was originally a sub-brand of Xiaomi India, but operates independently now. The tweet goes on to say how the company “took ahead" the Make In India through products and services “crafted for India". Realme’s Seth also mentioned local manufacturing, saying the company sources 60% of its components from local suppliers and that the country accounts for over 50% of its sales globally.
“We have created over 7500 direct jobs in our plants and by the end of 2020, we will increase our workforce to 10,000," said Seth.
Realme and Poco aren’t the only companies who have reiterated their commitment to India. During the launch of its new laptop recently Xiaomi’s India Head, Manu Jain, said 99% of Xiaomi’s phones are made in India, as are most of its Smart TVs. The company leads the Indian market in the smartphone space.
The anti-China sentiments in the country have strengthened since the worldwide pandemic, and are expected to intensify now that the two countries are tussling at their borders too. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had announced a national campaign to boycott Chinese goods in the country on June 10. CAIT is the apex trade body in India and represents 7 crore traders and 40,000 trade associations in India.
That said, industry experts agree that companies here cannot simply ignore the fact that they’re dependent on China. Four out of the top five smartphone makers in India are Chinese, and two of these companies have also turned their attention on the television space now. While the Indian government has been pushing for local manufacturing of products, a lot of groundwork remains to be done.
“It is no secret that a substantive part of India’s supply chain has its roots in China. Efforts are underway to enhance self dependency. Meanwhile, we remain confident that the Indian and Chinese leadership will find a lasting resolution out of the current border impasse," said Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman of the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) on the border conflict between the two countries.
Mohindroo also paid homage to the soldiers who were martyred in yesterday’s conflict and said ICEA is “hopeful of peace without compromising India’s strategic priorities".